Back to the office…Sometimes!

We are a step closer to a sense of normalcy. At Breakwater, we will continue with a hybrid model for the rest of 2021 at least. Some choose to come to the office every day, some continue to work from home, and many choose to come to the office two or three days each week. For those fully vaccinated, maskless is the look!

Despite the joy of having our loyal dogs or cats by our side during the work day, being in the office a few days each week can be a relief. We don’t have to worry about being interrupted mid-Zoom with dogs barking, when yet another delivery arrives or when a landscaper starts using loud equipment – always well timed. And, seeing work colleagues in person, being able to meet and talk through things, and hearing the laughter here and there (always part of the Breakwater day) is so energizing. Zoom fatigue is a real thing. Collaborating in person is just a welcome motivator. And for those moms and dads of young children who have been restricted in their typical school and activity schedules, what a relief to be able to get back to a normal routine!

Every business is unique and needs to decide what works best for their operation and for their people. Being able to weave work and life together is a positive, and hopefully employers are open to continuing this opportunity. People are happier and are likely more productive. We will all be watching this closely to see what the right balance is and what works best. But, what a silver lining to a stressful period – to force all of us to experience working remotely for a long period of time and to learn a different way to operate as a business. 

Hoping everyone is looking at their business with a fresh perspective and changing things up.

Treasurers and Finance Committee Members – Are you getting what you need to be a valuable board member?

The definition of the role of a treasurer or finance committee member includes key themes like “general financial oversight”, fundraising, financial planning, budgeting, monitoring, and strategic planning. It is your job to be a partner to the Executive Director/CEO and help take the organization to the next level. The organization is relying on you for your extensive knowledge, background, and let’s be honest, fundraising contacts.

When was the last time you saw a full set of financials? What’s a full set of financials, you ask? A full set of financials includes a balance sheet, accounts receivable and payable aging, endowment and restricted income details, an income statement (actual and vs. budget) and depending on your cash reserve, cash projections.

If you are receiving them, is it on a regular basis AND are they timely? Or are they too far back in time to provide valuable information (e.g – receiving Q1 in June)? Are you reviewing bank statements and reconciliations monthly? Are you reviewing restricted donations closely and making sure they are spent correctly and in a timely manner?

If the answers are no, you can’t remember, or are unsure,  start asking for them. Countless times we have seen board members only getting specific financials for board meetings, but in between, having no idea what’s going on in the non-profit or business.

Does that seem like too much oversight? It isn’t. Ask for the financials, ask the hard questions and most importantly, make sure you agree and understand the responses and feedback you are getting.  As a board member, it is your fiscal responsibility and duty to drive the organization to be better, to drive the organization to use their funds wisely, to make sure they are being used in an appropriate manner, and to help take the organization to the next level. 

Spring Clean Your Company’s Financial House

The birds are nesting, the flowers are blooming and hopefully your profits are soaring as high as those kites flying in the sky.   We have some spring-cleaning financial tips to get your business financial house in order!

Pare Down The Paper

Crinkled receipts in your wallet?  Filing cabinets overflowing with papers?  Paper clutter can be both a physical and mental drain on you and your employees.   However, you also know you need documentation to substantiate your business expenses.    Have you considered making a clean sweep and going paperless?   There are many options available to help you embrace a fully digital system of tracking paperwork and receipts.  Even the IRS accepts digital copies of documentation, so why would you weigh yourself down with paper?   Breakwater’s Workflow Solutions team are experts in advising on systems based on your business needs and can provide a tailored tech stack to take you from overflowing shoe box to streamlined systems!  See how we can help here.

Check For Signs of Financial Goals Blooming

As you approach the middle of your financial year, it’s a good time to check in to see if you’re on track with your annual goals and budget and even starting to look ahead to next year’s goals.   Are you hoping to move the needle on sales?  Are you setting budget goals and designing a plan for you and your team to take your business there?   You can’t know where you’re going without looking where you’ve been.  Use the tools at hand – your year-to-date financial statements, your financial ratios and your Breakwater team – and let your numbers do the talking.   Do you want to increase sales by 20% next year?  How do you need to grow your team and resources to get you there?  Are you looking to stabilize and sustain at your current levels or is your business ready to scale?   It’s time to stop and smell the roses as well as plant the seeds to grow your business.  See how we have helped other businesses bloom here

Dust Off Your Budget

Your budget may have been turned completely upside down by the pandemic over the past year.   Now that we have a full year of the “new normal” (which has hardly been normal) behind us, it’s time to assess spending patterns and look to what the future may hold.   Travel, meals, and office expenses have all been impacted over the past year, but as your business gears up to resume some normalcy, it’s time to ask some important budget planning questions.  Budget items like rent and meeting space deserve a close look as you consider how your business operations will look in the future.    Could this be an area of savings if you turn your team into a fully remote one or does your business rely on in person space to facilitate revenue?   Are you planning to increase travel costs as things reopen?  Looking ahead by using the past year’s trends can help you identify areas of need, as well as areas to decrease your expenses.

Spring holds the idea of hope and fresh starts.  Your breakwater accounting + advisory team consists of people who care, have technology that fits and expertise that matters.  Let us help your business grow into the next level. 

One Year Later: Workflows have never had an opportunity to look better!

In a year of uncertainty, there is one thing we can be sure about: your business’s workflows are never going to look the same. The COVID-19 pandemic thrust many companies into the world of cloud-based technology and showed us the need to be flexible, adaptable, and proactive. 

Continue reading “One Year Later: Workflows have never had an opportunity to look better!”

Talent + Tech = a match made in heaven

As we mark nearly a full year since COVID became reality and #teambreakwater started working primarily from home, we’re reflecting on the many changes we’ve encountered over the last 12 months. Almost overnight we shifted from mainly a collaborative, lively, office-based environment to sitting at kitchen tables with laptops making sure our clients knew they were cared for and their accounting was safe.

Continue reading “Talent + Tech = a match made in heaven”

Plunging into 2021 with Lee Podolsky

We have all been focused on getting out of 2020, and here we are in a new year with continued news sensationalism and a wealth of unknowns. No one is immune to the mental and emotional impact of the global pandemic. The sustained feeling of worry and despair is draining. There have been a lot of silver linings and positive outcomes of this time. Start with focusing on these.

Continue reading “Plunging into 2021 with Lee Podolsky”